SARA MITRA previews the appearance of Raúl Midón on Octobr 19th in Georgia Mancio’s Revoice! Festival.
I saw Raúl Midón live a good few years ago, at the Jazz Café when he was on tour with Lil Louie Vega. I walked in distracted, not knowing I would be leaving with an image printed in my mind forever, of a majestic man in dark glasses with an immense presence and lightness. Standing quite still, he infused the air around him with his virtuosic guitar playing, glorious singing and his vocalised instrumental lines; a performer with music literally radiating out of him. (This apparent cosmic aura could have been down to the venue’s rather snazzy lighting scheme but still, I stick by what my memory tells me).
Midón has been extremely busy since that long-past date in London, promoting his solo albums State of Mind and Synthesis, collaborating with artists such as Stevie Wonder and Larry Goldings, also touring across the globe, including his soon coming London gig for Georgia Mancio’s Revoice! Festival.
Blinded in his incubator as a prematurely born baby, it would be lazy writing to compare Midón to other great visually-challenged singers such as Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles. But it cannot be denied that the extreme charisma and force of ability that makes those two particular examples legendary is also present in Midón.
The video above is of a solo live performance he did for the Letterman show, playing the title track from his album State of Mind. I defy anyone to watch it and not be captivated.
Sometimes I imagine that hearing voices is like wine-tasting. You can taste flecks of different influences and accents of musical cultures, With live Midón I hear notes that scream Donny Hathaway, and rhythmic inflections that make me think of Jill Scott. On recording, his voice is chameleon-like, veering expertly from style to style, even channelling Sting at some points on the first track of Synthesis, the undulating 7/8 groover “Don’t Be A Silly Man”.
Raúl Midón is appearing as part of the REVOICE! FESTIVAL at The Union Chapel in Islington on Friday 19th October, and I urge any singer or lover of vocal music to check out his live solo show.